Six years after the release of their ferocious self-titled debut, bonafide mega-group Killer Be Killed are back with their out-of-nowhere new record, Reluctant Hero.
Once again combining members Greg Puciato (ex- The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Black Queen), Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, Soulfly) and Troy Sanders (Mastodon), the band come out swinging, not missing a single step with their follow up, partnering this time with Ben Koller (Converge) to handle stickwork, in an absolutely world-class lineup change. Lead single and opener Deconstructing Self-Destruction greets us, wasting no time with a brief declaration of intent in the form of a cacophonous wall of sound, making way for a powerful introduction from Sanders, accompanied by led-heavy lurching riffs before pivoting toward Puciato and Cavalera to share vocal duties throughout verse and chorus on the rest of the track. A mission statement that is absolutely impossible to ignore.
Tracks like Filthy Vagabond, Animus & Dead Limbs barrel out from the traps at breakneck speed, showcasing a pounding, almost punk-rock sensibility, with Koller thrashing his way through his duties without breaking a sweat. More groove-laden jams like Comfort For Nothing and the brooding Inner Calm From Outer Storms serve as absolute thrill-rides, with each member of the band clearly leaving their fingerprints all over their respective segments. Be it Sanders’ deep, almost anthemic-roar, Puciato’s crooning or Cavalera’s feral bark, this Frankenstein’s monster is born of some pretty impressive C.V.s, and god does it kick ass. Make no mistake, everyone is pulling their weight here.
The band flex their muscles on the record’s sedate title track, Reluctant Hero, with a more contemplative, emotional six minute journey, slowly building to it’s crushing crescendo, with Cavalera shrieking cries of ‘When will we meet again?’ behind powerful sustained chords. It’s yet another string to the group’s bow, as they weave their way through hardcore, dirty punk rock and straight up heavy metal all the while dropping hints of death metal throughout the work. On paper, you might expect this to be a few too many cooks in the kitchen, but it just WORKS.
No, it’s no easy feat to bring all of these elements together into one slick, well oiled machine but somehow Killer Be Killed throw pre-conceived notions about supergroups right out the window. For a band that looked to be in a ‘one and done’ situation, to return with a record that not only matches their previous effort, but outright surpasses it is a treat nobody in their right mind expected in 2020. Let’s just hope it isn’t another seven years before this behemoth rears it’s head once more.